Friday, January 1, 2010

Faith with Feathers and Fear Less

Psalms 107:13-16 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.

In bed at 3 am this morning and up at 7. It seems this holiday season has had many a short night. Levi had been out once but was whining as if he needed another pee break, so puppies rule the morning when being house-broke. I stepped outside in my house shoes and flannel robe to a crisp beautiful morning. As the frost glistened in the sun, which was just now peeking over the horizon, I was hit anew with the promise - His mercies are new each morning.

Birds were singing in the neighborhood as if spring had arrived, and I chuckled as I saw my breath leave my chin. Do they realize how cold it is? I breathed in deeply through my nose and I was reminded of my wonderful new ability to draw in a full breath through nostrils separated by a now-straight-septum. Thank you Jesus. Exhaling I was aware of His presence in the moment. I love these little encounters with Him. Thank you.

Two very simple words that mean so much. I've said them a lot lately. Thankful for many wonderful gifts at Christmas, not least of which was the affirmative answer to a (roughly) 40-year-old prayer - a White Christmas. I was as giddy as a young boy who received a bike on Christmas morning. In Texas it is truly is a Christmas miracle - proven by the fact that it was the first one on record in 83 years.

I actually opened all the blinds on our first floor so that as I traveled room-to-room I could see the falling snow and blanket of love. I prayed for people's safety as I knew many would be making their way to family gatherings - including my daughter Whitney who worked well into the evening. With each flake and each inch I felt the Father's love for a little 49 year old boy who might as well had seen Santa and his sleigh touch-down on his roof. For some this may seem silly - for me it was a dream-come-true. But it may not have been the best gift I received...

This year I topped my Christmas List with a request for a book which has also become a "New Years Resolution," and maybe even a declaration of freedom. I asked for Max Lucado's newest publication Fearless. I've completed chapter 3 and it is already proving to be everything I'd hoped and then some. I'll share more on my "deliverance" in upcoming posts as more light is shed on the disfunctionality of my soul, and the steps to strengthen feeble knees.

It has been several months since I've entered anything on my blog. In fact, 2009 was a year of very few posts; it was indeed a year of change (as one politcal mantra goes). For those of you rolling your eyes - fear not - I'm not going there today. What I want to do is offer a window into some of the changes I've been going through, even now, and what I feel like the Holy Spirit is doing in me, and maybe even a small challenge to all to be HAPPY.

I am convinced that the biggest obstacle in all of our lives is FEAR. It stands as an impenetrable wall for many. Max refers to it as a prison in his book. For me, I come by it honestly, my mom is the original "worry-wart." I gave her this book too for Christmas. :) The thing that pains me the most about mom is her fears. She also comes by it honestly. Born 19 days before the stock market crashed in October 1929, her entire childhood was engulfed in the darkness of insecurity known as "The Great Depression."

At one point they were homeless seeking shelter in an abandoned broom factory, sharing it with some cows. Mom, the second-youngest of 9 children, would walk with my Aunt Martha several blocks out of the way from school so the kids wouldn't know where they actually lived. My mind can hardly wrap itself around that scene. Add to this the insecurity of two world wars and one can only imagine the fear that took root in a young lady's heart.

My worries? Some are legitimate, some not-so-much. I was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure. It seems to be situational. Long hours at work, mandatory overtime, less down-time, more frown-time, stress, test, not my best, shortness of breath, more seems less, and the powers that be just can't see, all wrapped-up in "me" now no time is free. As anxiety deepens, frustration mounts, blood pressure elevates. Fear creeps in. (Fear is a creep you know.) Promise seems to fade into shadows and the cycle spins.

So I run.

I run on the treadmill seeking endorphins and a fix for my physical fitness. My body is changing. Good - it needed it. I feel better. I've got my lungs back, I'm getting my joints back, and I'm getting my jeans back, and turning the clock back ever-so-slightly. I'm still sprouting hair in the most unusual of places, which has created a new fear - that I will end up looking like Steve Carell, but I digress. I'm embracing the changes in me to be physically and spiritually challenged and changed from glory to glory.

This morning I began to dig a little deeper on this front and started confessing my greatest fears to the Father (and now to you all). My biggest fear is that my loved-ones (mainly my kids) will not arrive safely at their destination - physically and spiritually. Max reminded me of the sparrows. The Father did too when they sang this morning in the sun-kissed frost of a new decade. Sparrows sold 2 for a penny and 5 for 2. Max talks about the fifth sparrow - the freebie not worth anything - yet the Father knows about the sparrow. It sang a song of promise in spite of the cold - in spite of the season - doing what it is created to do.

His promises are worth the daily digest. His promise is that He never leaves or forsakes. His promise is that He finishes that which He starts. His promise is that we can't out-sin His grace or outrun His pace. His promise is not another political mantra of hope and change, but a real messiah that delivers them both. His promise is that He will come again and that the paraclete will walk beside until then.

A new day. A new year. A new decade. Another chance to embrace all that is the promise of new life in Him and the journey of joy. What about you? Are you doing what you were created to do? We say "Happy New Year!" with the emphasis on the New Year. I think our emphasis should be on "Happy"! HAPPY New Year folks. Walk in promise and walk in joy. It's what He wants for us and what we're created to do.